Most beginners who tend to be insincere; who are more curious about Zen than dedicated, approach it as if they were lawyers looking for loopholes! This attitude is not one of being open to radical change. In fact, this kind of beginner expects Zen to agree with him which means, basically, no change!
Nothing about Zen is supposed to be understood with common sense because it is based on uncommon sense. I would not be wrong to say that Zen expects us to do the impossible; and if it seems, at times, too difficult, it is because it is difficult. Even studying with the best possible teacher doesn’t make the goal of Zen easy. We still have to see our true nature first hand whether a teacher is present or not. More importantly, the standard for determining the worthiness of our insights has to tally with what the Buddha said. Zen master Torei (1721–1792) said:
“I ask students to focus your eyes and look—what season is it now? Time is precious. In order to test the teachings you've attained, I've brought up a number of Buddhist scriptures and treatises. Examine carefully and see whether or not what you have attained accords with the scriptures and treatises. If it is disparate or contrary to the scriptures and treatises, your view is biased and also shallow and simplistic” (The Undying Lamp of Zen).
This is not what those who are looking for loopholes wish to read who are of the mind that kensho is something akin to a toy prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box. It’s not a prize or something external to us. Zen (or more at Zen training) is a means which enables us to see our true nature instead of pursuing what we are not, then wondering why our life is unsatisfactory and sometimes downright depressing.
When we turn away from the real aim of Zen which is to see our true nature or kensho and do everything but try to see this nature which is also our Buddha-nature, we start to invent another Zen. This involves looking for loopholes which is a means to escape the hard work that Zen requires. For example, reading about the life of a particular Zen master, we might conclude that Zen is about learning to live in the moment or just about being aware. Some might even go so far as to believe that Zen is about being natural, doing whatever you feel like doing; not carrying about anything; being almost antisocial in the example of Zen master Ikkyu. What these loopholes have in common, they have nothing to do with the Buddha’s enlightenment.